We all have plenty of excuses for not being active as a family. Parents work long hours. Kids are busy with homework or extracurricular activities. Sports equipment can cost a lot of money, especially when shopping for an entire family. All of these reasons are valid, however, we have to conquer our barriers and get active. Being active with your family is a great way to get in shape and be healthier, but more importantly it’s key to the growth and development of your children.
Today in America, we are facing an epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity. According to a study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2007-2008, an estimated 17% of children aged 2-19 are obese. That number has significantly increased since a similar study completed in 1980.
The easiest way to curb the uptick in unhealthiness begins at home. Habits and behaviors regarding diet and exercise are generally learned at home and should be reinforced by parents. Simple changes in diet, such as eating more produce and cutting out heavily processed foods could help. Another simple way to instill a healthy lifestyle in your children is to get active and stay active during their childhood.
Your activities don’t have to be rigorous or demanding. Start small and stick with it. If you can find the time, twenty to thirty minutes a day is great. Playing basketball, or tossing around a football or even just walking together around the community are good starter activities. Talk to your kids about what they would like to do. Maybe they would like to try out a sport that they haven’t played before, or maybe there’s a game they learned at school that they want to teach you. If you, as a parent, go into the activity with an open mind and a positive attitude, the children will relish the time. Chances are, they’ve always wanted you to play with them; so once the effort is made to set aside the time, their excitement will be enough to motivate you!
Aside from the obvious benefits of additional family bonding, you’ll be doing your children a great benefit by getting active together.
A Systems Approach to Recreation Programming, F.C. Patterson
Leisure Programming, Christopher R. Edington, et al.